Disney to Debut India Streaming Without Fanfare in Lockdown

(Bloomberg) — Disney Co. will start its streaming service in India later in the week , after a coronavirus lockdown upended its previous plans in one among the world’s biggest emerging markets for online video. The U.S. entertainment giant planned to begin Disney+ in India at the beginning of the wildly popular Indian Premier League cricket season on March 29. That big-bang event has been postpone for 2 weeks thanks to the pandemic. Disney said Tuesday the service will launch on April 3.

Disney joins rivals like Netflix Inc. and Amazon.com Inc.’s Prime Video in trying to tap a possible surge in users at a time when many Indians — stuck reception — browse for entertainment. Being one among the most important open markets in Asia, India has become a battleground for major streaming companies also as domestic players. Boston Consulting Group estimates the Indian video-streaming market could grow to $5 billion by 2023 from $500 million in 2018.

The new streaming platform is crucial for Disney to advance its position within the south Asian country , where Hotstar — an asset the firm acquired along side 21st Century Fox — is already a pacesetter because of the recognition of cricket. Streaming live matches to avid fans of English sport, Hotstar says it’s 300 million monthly users, though not all are paying subscribers.

Disney Chairman Bob Iger told investors in February that Hotstar’s premium services in India would be rebranded as Disney+ Hotstar, which the Indian Premier League would be an “opportune moment.” But Disney, which was looking to the sports tie-in to form an enormous splash, is now entering the market without all the eyeballs it might otherwise get through its Hotstar platform. because the Covid-19 health risis rages round the world, there’s no certainty the IPL tournament will start on April 15.

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